Episode 5 - Geology & Timefulness with Marcia Bjornerud

Sometimes a cave is just a cave. Geologist Marcia Bjornerud will give us a guided tour of Plato's Cave.

Marcia Bjornerud is Professor of Geology and Environmental Studies at Lawrence University in Appleton. Her research focuses on the physics of earthquakes and mountain-building, and she combines field-based studies of bedrock geology with quantitative models of rock mechanics. Marcia was named Outstanding Educator in 2011 by the Association of Women Geoscientists. She is the author of  Reading the Rocks:  The Autobiography of the Earth, a contributing writer to The New Yorker’s science and technology blog, “Elements”. Her most recent book is called Timefulness: How thinking like a geologist can help save the world. In 2022, she will publish Geopedia: A Cabinet of Geologic Curiosities. In Reading the Rocks, Marcia writes that "The only autobiography that was transcribed without any self-interest or self-consciousness is the life history of Earth, which has literally been written in the rocks. [It is] the only text that should be mandatory for every earthling. Because we are destroying the roof and destabilizing the heating system of our beautiful home - our only shelter - without having taken the trouble to study the construction details of this house."
 
 
Sources we mention in the podcast:
-John Harte (2002), Toward a Synthesis of the Newtonian and Darwinian Worldviews. https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/1.1522164 
-Sabine Hossenfelder (2018), Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray (more on this book in a later episode) 
- Livestream of the Icelandic volcano eruption (updated 11-Apr-21): https://www.ruv.is/frett/2021/03/18/bein-utsending-fra-gosstodvunum-nyjar-sprungur-opnast 
 
Videos that capture thinking on geologic timescales, provided by Marcia: 
Nice illustration of how scale modeling with sand can allow us to see mountain-building processes too slow to experience directly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9bKXY0OMxc
 
This one is not about rock deformation over time, but shows how geologists take 2D surface (map) information and convert it into 3D: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CHd6_cIT44
 
A recently released depiction of plate motions over the past 800 million years: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/06/science/tectonic-plates-continental-drift.html
 
A more detailed plate tectonics animation centered on the Mediterranean region over the past 200 millions years (it first goes backward in time, then forward again to the present): https://www.facebook.com/GeologyWay/videos/2576386299268336/
 
But Marcia's absolute favorite is this non-scientific animation:  "Das Rad/The Rocks": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOPwXNFU7oU
 
I hope you enjoy our discussion!
Mario
 
Here's how to contact me if you have any questions or comments:

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